Pregnancy in Japan


Becoming pregnant is an especially important occasion: Pregnancy even has its own name, Ninkatsu which means “pregnancy hunting”. Famous women often share their journies of Ninkatsu, showing the reality of life as a pregnant woman. 

Pregnancy is regarded as something women must devote their all to. From the environment they’re into what they eat, women are considered as wholly responsible for what happens to the development of their child. Pregnancy is a process that is worked on.


Traditional Chinese medicine is used as guidance for pregnant women. Advice includes the following:

  • The womb must be kept warm
  • Women must wear a anzan hara obu ( a belt that supports the stomach, to be worn at the shrine)
  • Ankles should be covered to make sure the womb is warm: the channels in the body carry the energy all over and that goes to the womb.


Japanese women are told to not eat foods that you would consider “cold”. Foods like broccoli, apples and asparagus are avoided even if they are served warm: they have a cooling effect on the body. Their pregnancy diets tend to consist of more vegetables and less meat.


Weight is important to monitor during pregnancy. The normal amount of weight gain ranges from six to eight kilograms. In order to maintain and control their weight, through pregnancy fitness/yoga classes, sometimes hospitals run classes.


This is the Japanese word for emotional wellbeing: doctors recommend that pregnant mothers involve themselves in spirituality. This helps de-stress expectant women who will have many worries during their pregnancy.

Satogaeri Shussan

This is “going back home”. Family members are involved heavily in the aftercare of mother and baby. In fact, mothers may have other family members move in with them.

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